Even a casual look at pictures of Afro hair through the decades demonstrates that a lot has changed in Afro hair care. No matter what part of the African continent we look at, hair care followed very similar patterns – regular heavy coverings of moisture, oil and ochre, detailed hairstyles that were beautiful but also held hair in place for long periods. Combs carved from wood and bone were used sparingly and were considered decorative when not in use. All this suggests that aggressive washing, conditioning, and daily combing, straightening and styling practiced today are not what Afro hair needs. Just have a look at the following images. From East, West, South and Central Africa -distances of thousands upon thousands of miles – approaches to hair care showed similar wisdom.
Black Short Cut Hairstyles Photo Gallery
1. This photo was taken around 1905. It shows a hair-dressing style among women of the Sango tribe, Banzyville (Ubanghi) in Congo, Central Africa wearing what looks like tiny dreadlocks or twists.
2. Omo woman, Ethiopia, Eastern Africa – Photo by Gianfranco Gori
3. Fulani woman from Niger, West Africa – Photo by Steve Evans. Photo date 1898.
(See end of blog for photo permissions).
The photos above, some dating to the late 19th century, show that the idea that managing and growing Afro hair is difficult has more to do with attitude and approach than reality. This photographic essay also tells us that if we interpret our lessons from tradition we can’t go far wrong.
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